SAN ANTONIO (Texas) • LeBron James has often pointed out that he enjoys spreading the ball around as much as he enjoys scoring.
But as he sat just seven points short of 30,000 for his career leading into Tuesday night's National Basketball Association (NBA) game against the San Antonio Spurs, the unselfish superstar threw an online alley-oop to himself off the backboard.
"Wanna be one of the first to congratulate you on this accomplishment/achievement tonight that you'll reach!" James wrote in an Instagram post that featured a photo from his high school days.
"Only a handful has reached/seen it too and while I know it's never been a goal of yours from the beginning try (please try) to take a moment for yourself on how you've done it!"
The post went up more than seven hours before James' Cleveland Cavaliers tipped off against the Spurs in San Antonio, but he had good reason to be confident.
He had been held to fewer than seven points just three times, and the last time came on Dec 29, 2004 when he was 19 years old.
Sure enough, with a second left in the first quarter, he sank a 19-footer, giving him eight points in the game and pushing him to 30,001 in his career. He finished the game - a 102-114 loss - with 28 points, leaving him with 30,021, or 8,366 short of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA record.
James joined Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Dirk Nowitzki as the only players to reach 30,000 points.
And at 33 years and 24 days old, he shattered Bryant's record for getting to the milestone fastest, as the retired Los Angeles Lakers star was 34 years and 104 days old when he hit the mark in 2012.
James' night was, however, spoilt by the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 points and Dejounte Murray added 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals as the hosts ended a two-game losing streak.
NYTIMES, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE